‘He’s got to thank me a lot’ – Phil Neville takes credit for ex-Man Utd pal Cristiano Ronaldo’s incredible career

PHIL NEVILLE jokingly stated that Cristiano Ronaldo has a lot to thank him for as he helped his career in a big way in the early days.

Neville, 44, recollected a 2003 match between Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon in an interview with Sky Sports.

Ronaldo ran him ragged throughout the match, leading Sir Alex Ferguson to sign the young Portuguese after the game.

Explaining how the event boosted Ronaldo's career, Neville said: "I think Cristiano's got to thank me a lot you know because I played in that game in Sporting Lisbon when he kept dancing past me down that wing.

"The game when after the game Sir Alex signed him in the dressing room.

"I played in that game and you witnessed in 90 minutes someone that was going to be very special, no doubt about it.

"And it's not often you can say that about someone.

"So I just hope he comes up to me after the game and says thanks for your efforts in helping me get where I am today."


Ronaldo was so impressive in that friendly match Ferguson pulled out all the stops to sign him.

Ex-United star Nicky Butt revealed the squad spent three hours waiting on the team coach while Ferguson thrashed out a deal to sign Ronaldo.

Mikel Silvestre has also spoken about that night, and how Neville urged Fergie to snap up CR7 after he tormented the now Inter Miami manager.

The former Red Devils boss knew what he had to do and it was not long until Ronaldo became a United player.

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